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Credit card signatures: Useless?

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the yep-and-you-betcha dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 1067

SpaceAdmiral writes "Everyone should remember John Hargrave's classic Credit Card Prank on Zug. He tried signing fake names on his credit card receipt, and no one seemed to care. But that's nothing compared to The Credit Card Prank, Part 2. Can he draw obscene pictures instead of signing his credit card? Yes, it turns out. Is there any way of getting your signature checked? . . . Yes, it turns out. But you have to do an awful lot."

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Almost useless (4, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000294)

A story I heard once somewhere on the web:

"I once went to Target to buy a CD and used my new credit card to pay. After signing the receipt the cashier took my card and looked at the back and said "You haven't signed the back of your credit card.", I took my credit card back and signed the back of it and gave it back to her. She then proceeded to compare the back of my just signed credit card with the signature I had also just made on the receipt and said "Yep, they match". I just shook my head, took my stuff and left."

Actually, despite my experience in the past with this kind of sillyness, I have noticed a lot more cashiers taking more care to make sure that the signature really matches. Just yesterday I went to Half Price Books and thought that the cashier was going to breakout a magnifying glass to ensure that the signature was authentic.

Re:Almost useless (4, Insightful)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000340)

I write in "SEE ID" and then my signature next to it on my credit cars. I then say thank you to the cashiers who check my ID.

I know it isnt a lot, but it helps me feel a little more comfortable that had I been a criminal trying to get a bad credit card accross I would have been foild.

Then you have Wal Marts and such that you swipe the card yourself.... ugh.

Re:Almost useless (2, Interesting)

slungsolow (722380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000387)

Been doing the same for years. I'd say my card is only checked 5% of the time. The scary thing is I use my card for just about every purchase I can.

Re:Almost useless (3, Interesting)

Richie1984 (841487) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000423)

I write in "SEE ID" and then my signature next to it on my credit cars. I then say thank you to the cashiers who check my ID.

That's quite a good idea, but over here in the UK we have a new scheme to counter fake signitures. Instead of signing for using your card, you simply enter your secure 4 digin pin into a terminal. If they match, then your identity is verified. Although, personally, I still don't trust this scheme. There are simply too many ways to have your identity stolen, and it is simply too easy to have someone secretly watch you enter a secure 4 digit pin. At least signitures need some mild degree of talent to forge.

Re:Almost useless (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000511)

But as this article is proving is "no you don't have to have talent to forge".

And smart cards you're talking about are WAY better than what we have here [america]. First off, having the card doesn't net you anything. You need the pin to get it todo anything.

Second, the reader doesn't get anything useful off you. This stops magreader thieves from stealing your card info.

Third, you actually need the pin to make it work.

I think guessing a 4 digit pin is harder than writing "shamoo" on a receipt...

Tom

Re:Almost useless (5, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000547)

In the US if you have a card linked to your checking account, it can be used as a credit or debit card. As a credit card all that is needed is a signature. A debit card is just a fancy name for an ATM card. When the card is processed as a debit card the machine will ask for your PIN. The problem is in debit mode you can be charged foreign ATM fees (by both your bank and the business processing the card). So it is best to just use the card as a credit card when asked, "credit or debit?" There is also nothing preventing the card from being used one way or the other.

Re:Almost useless (1)

viscount (452242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000571)

Yes, but the point of this scheme is that if someone steals your wallet (containing your credit cards) then they can't go on a buying spree without your PIN, which they will have no idea of, unless they've watched you type it in when making a purchase. With signatures, the thief just needs 5 minutes practicing your signatures to get it right, and then they're off down Dixons to load up on laptops.

Re:Almost useless (2, Funny)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000446)

Why? You're not found liable for fraudulant charges. All your doing is holding up the line. Even if they check, have you ever once seen a cashier question a signature? I haven't.

When I used to cashier part time in college I always wished I could reject those cards. "Sorry, SEE ID isn't the cardholder's name. I can't accept this."

Re:Almost useless (1)

King Fuckstain (864155) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000589)

" Why? You're not found liable for fraudulant charges."
No, you as an individual are not held directly responsible but when a company has to combat fraud, who ends up footing the bill for that? The consumer. Honestly, learn to look at the big picture - it'll help you have a much better life.

And I don't care about what you wished you could have done back when you were in college.

Re:Almost useless (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000477)

i have the 'see id' note on my card as well. almost no one does. whenever i have to sign on a screen w/ a stylus i just do a line. no one ever does anything.

onto walmart, i went thru the self check out, swiped my card them the lady stopped me, checked my bag and had to verify my card and id... ..whats the point of self-checkout? ...i know a girl who uses a guys card at the grocery store self checkout all the time.

credit cards are strange. the last place i used one of mine was in rome. 2 years ago. about a month ago someone started useing it in the u.k. to buy shoes. the credit company just called me up and asked about the charges. when i said i was calling from boulder colorado she just cancelled the card and the charges. easy.

Re:Almost useless (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000397)

Yeah. I used to have a boss/friend. (Kind of weird work environment) Who would give me his card to do caffeine runs with. I used to fake his signature till the day I did my own by accident and the lady didn't care. I was much younger and this was the first time I had noticed that.

Re:Almost useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000483)

never forge someone elses signature, that is illegal.

signing your own name on the card you were given permission is legal.

forgery is not though :P

Re:Almost useless (1)

xbhatti (262449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000427)


I have been writing my kids names for the past so many years!

http://khaitan.org/mt [khaitan.org]

Re:Almost useless (1)

ospirata (565063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000430)

That totaly explains why he is a CD salesman, not a computer programmer.

Not useless - a "feature" (3, Informative)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000464)

The credit card companies actually advertise this as a feature. Hasn't anyone seen the "Visa Check Card" commercials?

"Thanks, but I'll have to see some ID."

That's their sole "feature" - that credit cards are less secure than checks. And the percentage that they siphon from the credit card / direct check transaction goes to cover any fraud.

So I fail to see how this is an issue. If someone uses my card fruadulently, then I get reimbursed. That is a lot easier than fooling around with checks from a consumer standpoint. From a business standpoint, it is a ripoff because the cost of credit card / direct check transactions *could* be lower.

In the end, the banks don't even make an effort to catch small scale fraudsters. At one point, I helped a friend do just that but we were displeased to find that the bank and police did not care when we showed them our findings.

Re:Almost useless (1)

japhmi (225606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000466)

Think that's bad. The signature has rubbed off on the back of one of my cards, so usually people ask for ID. One person, takes my card, takes receipt, looks very carefully... and says "thank you."

There is nothing but a black smudge on the back of the card!

Re:Almost useless (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000567)

I bought a bus ticket at Greyhound in Ontario just this month, and the cashier said my signature didn't look like the one on my credit card. She didn't do anything about it, though. But really what should she do? Take away my credit card? Get me to sign again?

Re:Almost useless (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000569)

Actually, despite my experience in the past with this kind of sillyness, I have noticed a lot more cashiers taking more care to make sure that the signature really matches.
That can be annoying for people (like me) who can't repeat their own signature. My signature never looks the same as a previous attempt, so how do you check it's really me ?

Personally, I prefer using my PIN-card (over here (netherlands), credit cards are rarely used, mostly PIN, Cash or sometimes Chipknip (chip-wallet) )

comment 12 million? :) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000296)

I want comment 12 million..

Re:comment 12 million? :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000555)

Sorry, but J00 F41[ 1T!!! [slashdot.org]

I'm not complaining (4, Funny)

thebra (707939) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000302)

this comes in handy when I've had a "little" to much to drink at a bar or club. It's nice to know that my friends can sign for me.

Here's how I sign my credit card slips (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000307)

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/_JOHN_\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)__DOE__|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\______/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

JOHN DOE == ANONYMOUS COWARD (1)

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Not in the UK. (5, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000308)


One of the first things you notice when on holiday in the US (buying petrol, stuff, whatever) is that they don't look at your credit card signature. Ever.

In the UK (and I think most of Europe) it's a lot different. I've been asked to re-sign because my (legitimate!) signature wasn't quite similar enough. It doesn't help when you've got a 3-year-old card where the signature is pretty much worn-off anyway :-)

Another weird thing about the US is that pretty much the entire world wants to know your social-security number. The only person in the UK who ever asks for my SSN is the taxman, and I want him to know, so I don't get two tax-bills :-) You never ever get asked by the electricity/gas people, the cable company, the phone people, your bank, the list goes on. I guess identity fraud is that much easier that way...

Simon

Re:Not in the UK. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000383)

Yes, this is amazing. I don't understand why this has become the norm in the US. The Social Security office doesn't send the number in the mail for security reasons when every other company uses it as an ID number. Fraud is much easier this way for sure and the system of using it like an ID should be changed.

Re:Not in the UK. (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000467)

I've never really noticed them check the signature in the UK. My handwriting is appaling and my signature rarely looks like the back of the card and I never got queried. I had a card with a smudged signature for weeks and it only got queried once, and I use my card for everything.

My gf's credit card was stolen on High Street Kensington - by the time she reported it missing an hour later, the thief had already made 3 separate purchases and got £50 cashback at M&S, so the signature check was pretty worthless.

All moot now, anyway, with chip+pin.

Re:Not in the UK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000474)

Here in France, it's for 15 years we have the chip-card (Carte Bleue), so we don't sign anymore. We just compose a pin-code.

Not True (1)

cheezemonkhai (638797) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000519)

In the UK they do look at the back of the card, but they let almost anything pass, including some signatures that look nothing like the one on the card.

Cashiers don't care as they are paid crap money to doa tedious job and it's unlikely they will be sacked over a fraudulant card transaction unless it's a big one.

Some people aren't required to check the signature (1)

Doc Ido (241430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000525)

I don't know if this is true everywhere in the USA, but at many places I go now the cashiers are not required to check the credit card signature if the purchase is under $25.

Re:Not in the UK. (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000537)

I was once in line at Best Buy. This guy in front of me hadn't signed a new card he had received. After signing his slip the cashier notices this. She politely asks him to sign his card so she can compare signatures. It took him a beat to process the fact that "Yes she's that dumb.", he signed the card, she checked the sigs. and let him be on his merry way. I couldn't keep a straight face the entire rest of the time I was in line.

This is simply not true (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000583)

"Thanks." I answered and after taking a shower I dried myself off put on my short sleeved summer pajamas bottom deciding to go topless. I came into the bedroom. Marcus went into the washroom as I lay on top of the covers because is was so hot and muggy. A few minutes after hearing the shower running Marcus came out wearing a pare of summer pajamas bottoms also also and I could see part of his hairy chest as he was also topless. He had on short pajamas like myself and I could see his hairy legs. He looked fantastic. I rolled over and tried to sleep. I heard some noise in the kitchen and decided to look to see how the big German Shepard was doing as well as get myself a drink of water. I walked to the kitchen and couldn't see Buddy but suddenly I felt paws on my back and what must have been strong teeth tugging at my pajamas. Suddenly my pajama bottom was being torn off and I had to grab the counter in front of me to prevent me from falling to the floor. My pajama bottoms were in shreds on the floor and I was completely nude. I was slipping but managed to maneuver myself to the floor. I tried to get to my foot to the floor so I could push myself and stand up but it was no use. The big German Shepard was on my back. I could feel his cock pressing against my ass crack. It must have been well lubricated with pree cum because it slid up and down my crack before I felt it enter my ass. Man what the bloody hell was happening to me? I was on the kitchen floor the big German Shepard on my back his large paws around my chest and his big thick cock in my ass. I soon could feel what must have been eight or nine inches of hard doggy cock in my ass. What the hell was that thing that was also trying to enter my ass. Suddenly the thing I judged to be the size of a tennis ball entered my ass. I was surprised as it began to grow in my ass the size of an orange if not bigger. I hated to admit it but I was beginning to enjoy Buddy in my ass and pushed my ass back as my own cock grew hard. Then suddenly the kitchen light went on and I heard Marcus. "What the fuck's going on. Man you're a fucking fag and a slut of a homo taking my dog in your queer ass. But man it looks hot. Fuck that homo Buddy. Screw his faggot ass boy." I could only moan with lust as Buddy screwed my ass as best he could. "Man you're his bitch you fag I see Buddy has tied with you with his knot. Man I need my cock sucked." Marcus said moving in front of me pushing his pajama bottoms down and letting them fall to the floor as a good nine thick inches of cut cock virtually jumped out of his pajamas. I licked my lips. I had to suck that cock of Marcus. "I know you want to suck it homo." Man I wanted that cock in my mouth. "Take it Barry down your throat boy. I had sucked and taken big cocks in my ass but nothing the size of this monster. But man I wanted it in my ass as soon as Buddy was finished with my ass. "I had a feeling you were a fucking faggot the moment I set eyes on you and my wife hasn't been giving it to me. I'm not myself and this is a first but man I need a hot ass and I figure since you're taking Buddy you can take my cock next. Buddy was still screwing my ass as I took Marcus' cock down my throat. I sucked and sucked his balls smashing against my bottom lip as I felt Buddy hammering my ass. "You fucking homo take Buddy in that faggot asshole of yours take it all ass hole. I kept pushing back. I lost all sense of time and with a big push the big German Shepard seemed to freeze deep in my ass as a flood of cum filled my ass. The big thing in my ass began to deflate and his cock came out of my ass. As soon as he was out of my ass Marcus said. "I am not really cheating on my wife. I want to see your fine muscular ass you fruit." Marcus went behind me as like a fountain when Buddy pulled out of my ass his cum came dripping out of me. I felt as Marcus massaged my ass cheeks and opened them up. He could feel the head of his huge mushroom headed cock pressed against my ass hole. Then it popped in me. It hurt for a moment as he pushed deeper in my wanting hole. All I could say was. "Oh fuck me Marcus. Oh fuck me hard. I need to be screwed hard Marcus." I felt Marcus' large hands on my hips as he pushed forward sending his entire cock deep into me. "Take my cock you fag take it all. I know you love it in your fucking homo ass. Take it take it all." He began to slowly pound his cock in and out of my ass hard. "Oh such a tight ass you have queer even after Buddy screwed you, you're still tight. My cock loves your tight homo ass hole. Oh yes. So nice so tight around my cock." "Oh screw me Marcus." I was almost yelling out of lust. "Fuck me hard Marcus. Oh screw my ass you stud. You Greek God fuck my ass." I could feel him ramming my ass harder and harder. "Oh yes. Oh yes you sweets take it. "Take me homo take all of my hard cock in your tight ass hole." Marcus kept pumping my ass hole a good fifteen minutes before he pushed hard into my ass and pulled out completely. "Turn around cocksucker I want you to eat my cum." I maneuvered my body so I was facing Marcus and he pushed his cock head into my mouth the same time he gave me his salty load down my throat. We were both covered with sweat by then and we both went to the shower and washed each other before going to our separate beds. The following morning we both got up as if the night of screwing and sucking had never taken place. He packed his grip and after saying good bye he was on his way. I knew I would never see Marcus again but I could feel how his cock had felt in my ass and in my mouth.

Completely. (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000310)

While I realize that this "article" was meant to be tongue in cheek, I'll say:

Every time you make a credit card purchase, they're supposed to match your signature against the one on the back of your card. Nobody seems to check anymore, so I tried to see how far I could push it with wacky signatures like "Mariah Carey" and "Zeus," which you can read in the original Credit Card Prank.

My signature is basically a W with a line after. I have been told it's "unique". I always reply, "it's fast." Signatures required for credit card purchases are lame. Checking my ID is even worse. I always make sure to be a PITA when they ask for my ID when I pay w/a CC. Paying with plastic is my way around hassle and if they're going to give me one I'm sure to pay them back with some.

I was grocery shopping when I ran into a new type of signature-checking device: the electronic screen. Instead of a flimsy scrap of paper, you now sign your name right into the screen. Finally, I thought, a better way to check our signatures!

For these I usually just put an X through it or a straight line. I always believed that an X was a valid signature. What happens if I'm truly unable to write my signature? I have to sign in that box in order for the signature to take so I do. I've never had a problem with someone questioning it (most are 16 year old kids that just don't give a shit).

Going back to my ID issues w/CC's. My ID has a signature on it (for what reason I have no idea) but in order to get that signature on there you have to be writing for a certain amount of time. I had to write out my entire name (including middle name) in order for it to take. It basically means that the signature on my ID is worthless as I never sign anything like that. Why bother to require it if you aren't going to get a valid signature from me?

If we are basing the validation of the signature to the back of a possibly stolen card don't you think that someone would attempt to at least forge the signature? I would think that would be the case.

The world is ending if people seriously believe that a handwritten signature on the back of a credit card will end theft. Maybe we should all be required to have our signature stored in a national database. That surely will stop the terrorists!

So to answer the question posed in the article title: "Credit card signatures: useless?" I have to answer, completely.

Re:Completely. (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000361)

My signature is basically a W with a line after.

Wow! Please to meet you Mr. President!

Re:Completely. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000526)

You think Bush knows how to write W?!

Re:Completely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000479)

So it's worthless to you because you go out of your way to bypass it because you are lazy.

And this got modded 4? Wow.

Re:Completely. (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000494)

Well, that's good. I hope you enjoy the benefit of lots of people buying stuff on your account, without experiencing the hassle of anyone making sure that they're you.

Re:Completely. (1)

an0nemus (668839) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000539)

Paying with plastic is my way around hassle and if they're going to give me one I'm sure to pay them back with some.

I'm sure you're the first person to bitch if someone stole your CC.

Seriously, a clerk is asking you for this for your protection. If you don't want to be hassled use cash.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000313)

first post

I remember .. (4, Funny)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000332)

.. a guy I used to work with that signed all his credit card receipts and checks "I. M. Jesus Christ"

nobody ever though twice about it.

Re:I remember .. (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000462)

My business partner does this all the time - Ty Willingham, Mickey Mouse, George Washington, Satan, Jesus H. Christ, Kobe Bryant, etc. Never gotten so much as a raised eyebrow.

Personally, I thank the cashier any time they ask to see my ID. The back of my credit card is signed and says (in big black letters, over my own signature) - "CHECK ID."

If the credit card isn't signed, the post office won't accept it (and you can't just sign it in front of them). If it is, you can check the signature against the current signature + the picture/name on the ID. If everyone did this, I expect there'd be a lot less fraud.

On the other hand, there's always the issue of no signature or ID checking at all - gas pump, some minor transactions, online purchases, etc.

Luckily, the fraud departments at Bank One and Capital One were good enough to resolve the two fraudulant charges I've had to my card in the last couple of years. They also called me any time there was unusual spending patterns on my account (for which I am grateful).

You can't fix credit card fraud completely, but you can certainly take precautions on both sides of the account.

Starbucks (4, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000337)

Starbucks doesn't bother to ask for a PIN or signature under $20: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2004/08/18 /swipe_hype_debit_the_small_stuff/

John.

Idiocy does not stop there.... (5, Interesting)

hnile_jablko (862946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000354)

When I lived in Australia, a woman at Commonwealth Bank told me that I could not write "Check Identification" on the back of the card with my signature. I insisted that my signature was there, but I still wanted someoene to check the id of the card holder. She was adamant about it. I asked for her manager who was also adamant. Why were they? Because there was no rule or code of conduct which said it "IS OK" to do this. So thereby it must not be done.

Re:Idiocy does not stop there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000551)

I had the exact same thing happen to me, but instead it was in the U.S at the Postal Service. They would not accept my credit card that had "Check ID" written on it. I ended up having to use my ATM card.

In other news (2, Interesting)

cheezemonkhai (638797) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000357)

I could sign my card Micky Mouse and it would still be accepted.

My other half changed her signature so it was in hini rather than english character set, and they still accepted it when she did the english one without any questions.

They are pointless.

Anyway customers get arsey when you question them about the signature anyway so you lose either way.

It's true (2, Interesting)

dledeaux (174743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000362)

These days, I just draw a line across the receipt. Nobody really seems to care. My latest thing has been so see just how short I can make the line.

I'm ----- (4, Interesting)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000365)

literally. I just put a line through. That's my signature.

Signatures are pretty easy to forge... especially to an untrained eye.

So I keep my "real signature" for important stuff. Some waiter doesn't need my signature. They charge regardless.

I wish they wouldn't look at my signature. (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000373)

I'm asked all the time to show my ID by various cashiers when I use my credit card in a store and it's a bit annoying.

Since the U.S. federal government limits my liability to $50 for someone fraudulently using my credit card, and all of my credit card companies waive even that, I don't care who uses my credit card.

I just had to have one credit card replaced because someone attempted to charge $9,000 worth of "computer equipment" to it while I was on vacation. It was actually the third incident of someone putting fraudulent charges on that card. The funny thing is that even my credit card company didn't care - it was I that insisted on getting new numbers on the card. Which explains why more and more vendors are asking for ID or checking signatures - they're the ones that lose money when fraud happens.

Re:I wish they wouldn't look at my signature. (5, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000471)

Since the U.S. federal government limits my liability to $50 for someone fraudulently using my credit card, and all of my credit card companies waive even that, I don't care who uses my credit card.

Not entirely true. If it can be shown that your negligence contributed to the fraudulant usage of your card, you can be held liable. Granted, you have to really be careless for this to ever be an issue.

For example, loaning it to your friend to make a purchase. He/she makes other purchases on the card, well... you are screwed. The other common occurence is when you do not report a card stolen right away. Then, you can also be held liable.

I've heard of very few instances of this ever being an issue. But do not take the limited liablility policy to be an excuse to be careless. It can come back to bite you.

No signature (3, Informative)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000377)

Something i learned while working in retail is write "check id" in the signature block...not everyone checks, but i usually get at least 60% of the people ask me for id...so it would at least slow down someone having a spending spree with my card.

Some people pay attention (4, Interesting)

dcclark (846336) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000378)

I used to work in the box office at a performing arts center. We took credit card orders all the time, and all of us knew that we had to double-check the signatures. I remember more than one patron being very indignant when I refused to accept a card with "See ID" (or "CID") on the back, or worse yet, no signature at all.

"Can I just sign the card now?"
"I'm sorry, but I have no way of verifying your signature then."
"But nobody else ever cares!"
"I'm afraid that we do."

It's times like that that a boss who backs you up is a very, very helpful thing. (We would still take a different, and signed, credit card from them. We weren't total jerks!)

Re:Some people pay attention (1)

R0UTE (807673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000463)

If someone has signed their card CID, then that is their signature as far as the card is concerned, a signature is a way for a person to represent themselves on paper, it doesn't neccessarily have to resemble the persons name in any way, so as long as they reproduced the CID on the receipt then that should be accepted.

Re:Some people pay attention (2, Informative)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000498)

Hold on....why wouldn't you take a CC with See ID on it? I write that on mine so that people ask for my drivers license, comparing my photo to...well, to me. That plus the name on the CC and the name on my DL.

Re:Some people pay attention (2, Insightful)

flu1d (664635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000499)

I don't know if this is true with every state but in Colorado my signiture is on my drivers license. With my bank card its probably pretty easy to forge my signature. Why wouldn't you accept the See ID or CID? My ID has my picture and my signature, there probably wont be enough time for someone to make a fake ID before I cancel the card and thus looking at my ID will probably be more of an assurance than just looking at some scribbles on the back of my card.

Do they even check? (1)

turtled (845180) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000381)

I would say 9 out of 10 purchases don't even check the back, my signature or my ID. The other 1 out of 10, may look at the back, then notice that there is no signature and give it back to me, with receipt and all. No one even cares anymore. It's like we are doing them a waste of time if they have to ask to check ID / signature.

no sig required! (3, Interesting)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000382)

At my local starkbutts, I bought a pound of coffee and waited for the pen. and after an awkward pause, was told by the cashier that no signature was required any longer for purchases under $25...she was not even going to give me anything to sign.

I did not feel comforted by that...my stolen wallets have always been used to by gas because of the no-signature-pay-at-the-pump option. anyone else encountered this?

ID (1)

Bonhamme Richard (856034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000385)

I put "Ask for ID" on the back of my credit card where the signature should be.

It sort of works. I pull out the card and my ID, and about half the time they ask to see both.

Re:ID (1)

spaeschke (774948) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000431)

That's pretty damned brilliant. I've always been really uneasy of just how accepting people are of my credit card. I'd say only 20% of the time do I get carded, which to me pretty much constitutes gross negligience. I'll keep this in mind for my future cards.

Chip and pin (2, Interesting)

R0UTE (807673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000400)

UK has all switched over to the chip and pin system now so no signature required, even better, of course its extremely easy now to just watch everyone enter their pins so if u get that its straight to the cash machine and withdraw everything :)

Re:Chip and pin (2)

beezly (197427) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000576)

Err, no. Incorrect - You need the PIN and *that* card, not just any card.

Keep your PIN (ie make sure no-one is watching you enter it) and card secure and nobody can clone your card (like they can with magstripe cards). They are far more secure than older cards.

HAY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000405)

I was reading that! I was up to page 3 then it got slashdotted!

You jerks!

Self-serve checkout at some grocery stores (1)

Ktistec Machine (159201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000406)

Is there any way of getting your signature checked?

I've noticed that at least some self-serve grocery checkout setups actually look at your signature to see if it looks like a signature, and not just a squiggly line. Unfortunately, my signature really does look like a squiggly line, so it always gets rejected.

Mine gets checked sometimes. (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000407)

I bought a spoon at Williams-Sonoma the other day and the cashier asked for my ID and checked the signature against the card, what I had just signed on the receipt, and my drivers license.

Starbucks doesn't even require a signature. They just swipe the card.
Lots of Shell stations now require you to enter the billing ZIP code before you can get gas.

"See ID" (0, Redundant)

UMhydrogen (761047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000408)

I've found that if you write "Check ID" on the back, often stores will ask to check your ID. Granted this only works when the employee actually takes a look at the back of the card, but it does work about 75% of the time.

Signatures on the other hand are becoming less and less used anyways. For example, go to any supermarket and you scan your own card. The store never ever looks at your card and the signture that you sign is worthless.

There is a reason that the credit card companie are looking into alterative ways to protect security.

As a former cashier, absolutely. Yes. (1)

harks (534599) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000410)

No one, not anyone, ever compares the signature on the card to the signature on the receipt. Never. A PIN number would be worlds more effective.

My solution (4, Interesting)

Lxy (80823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000413)

I figured this out when I got my first credit card. If you sign your card, they will never look closely enough at it.

A friend of mine told me that writing "See Identification" in the signature block on a card would work. It sometimes did, but even then merchants would "compare" my signature and OK it. I tried writing "SEE IDENTIFICATION" in large letters with a black Sharpie. Worked better, but not entirely.

I finally came up with a permanent fix, that has yet to fail me:

When I get a new credit card, on the back Signature area I take a black Sharpie and draw X's over the entire signature area. That forces the clerk to ask for ID. It works EVERY TIME. The only time it hasn't worked is when the clerk doesn't bother checking, but there's little you can do about that other than make a scene or report them to their manager. Besides, in some places (maybe all) a signature is not required for purchases $20.

Re:My solution (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000584)

Have you bought anything with your credit card at the post office? At least at the ones I've been to, unless you have something that looks like a signature (not blank or "Please ID"), they won't take it. On one card I had "Please ID" in thick magic marker, along with a blue Bic pen signature. The cashier almost gave it back to me until she noticed there was also a signature there.

Re:My solution (1)

Nezer (92629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000586)

I've been told, though I'm not sure how accurate this is but it seems reasonable given the nature of lawyers in US society, that if fraud is commited and you don't sign your card with your signature, then whatever fraud protection that may have been in place could be negated from your lack of signature.

I say just sign the card. I've had my card for only a few months and the signature is already worn off anyway. You can tell one was there at one time and that's what I'm banking on (haha) if something goes awry.

nothing to see (0, Offtopic)

jcraveiro (848243) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000424)

/.'ed ...

do CID (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000428)

see ID. It is a bit better (not much, but some). The downfall, is that on the east coast (NYC, Washington, Maryland, etc) and Texas they do not bother to check anything (CC, or even when looking at CID, they ignore it; lazy, lazy ppl). In California, Colorado, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico I was checked by everyone.

Signatures... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000434)

I tend to sign with my name *and* the name of the store and the date. I've only had a couple of cashiers even comment on it, ever.

You can use anything as your signature... (1)

jgarland79 (665188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000440)

You can use anything you want as your signature as long as you can say "Yes, I wrote that." and be able to reproduce it.

One easy approach (1)

Wizzy Wig (618399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000442)

Instead of signing the back of my card, I simply wrote "Please Check ID." Even then, I find that only about 50% of clerks bother to look at the back of the card and ask for ID.

More people will read this than my signature... (2, Insightful)

kmartshopper (836454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000444)

I can't tell people how many times I've written everything from swears to promises of money if people read my signature when I sign and haven't had a single person say anything to me. This problem is significantly greater when I sign electronic pads at businesses after swiping my card. They don't even ask to see the card.

And credit card companies complain about rampant theft and people filing bankrupcy... yet the security on these cards is ridiculous. They promise to pay ALL debt incurred due to a stolen card, yet they give out miniature sized cards to put ON YOUR KEYCHAIN and no one gives half a shit about what you sign when you swipe the damn thing. The whole system is a joke.

make vendors responsible for fraud.... (3, Interesting)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000445)

If I were running the credit card companies, I would hold the vendors responsible for any loss due to fraud that was a result of their NOT checking signatures and ID's.
THAT would put a stop to that.

Re:make vendors responsible for fraud.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000545)

Ha ha ha. Dude, they are already responsible for all fraud, no matter what the circumstances. Which is why you, as the man in charge of the credit card companies, wouldn't give a damn about fraud.

Re:make vendors responsible for fraud.... (1)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000582)

They probably do. Credit card companies love screwing vendors, they do whatever the can to ensure they don't lose money.

In ecommerce sales where no signature is collected the vendor always loses out. They won't even discuss the matter. Even if the company can prove that one individual was responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in theft via ecommerce neither the feds nor the cc companies involve themselves. The vendor loses, the cc company doesn't lose anything and life goes on.

I assume they're just as dastardly to meatspace vendors. Perhaps it's only possible on higher priced purchases. I'd be amazed if they didn't try to lay the loss on the merchant.

Retail workers (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000450)

I managed a record store for many years in the 90's. Retail clerks just don't care if a card is stolen or not. OK, some of them do, but the vast majority are getting paid too little and are too busy to really put that much effort into it.

A teenager making 5.15 an hour and being tasked with not only greeting an assisting every single person who walks through the door (whether they want help or not) but also straightening, restocking, sweeping, cleaning the windows, cleaning the bathroom, and a host of other menial tasks is hardly going to take the time to scrutinize the signature on every credit card they handle.

Aside from that, retail clerks are hardly expected to by handwriting experts...

Re:Retail workers (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000538)

Don't a lot of the credit card companies give out rewards if retail staff retain a stolen card? I know they do in the UK, anyway - £50 for every card.

See ID (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000453)

The safest thing to write is 'See ID'.

Well, it's safe because it forces them to check the ID of the card's user, and it's funny because you can really tell if they care or not, since maybe people check it 1/10 of the time.

Of course, someone could still buy gas, order online/over phone with it., etc.

It wipes off too easily (1)

British (51765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000455)

Try as you might, but the litle area you put your signature on the back of the card doesn't last a month. It wipes off all too easily in your warm wallet after time. The friction of slipping it out against another card hurts it worse.

Why don't more credit card companies just put a picture on it? It won't work for certain transactions(gas pumps, mail order, etc), but if it attempts to be physically used(ie cashier has to pick it up & use it) at least that'll foil the would-be idenity thief. I know one company does the picture id thing.

Or would privacy advocates be up in arms?

Re:It wipes off too easily (1)

dr bacardi (48590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000566)

I use a Sharpie to sign mine. It lasts for at least a year.

My Father's Method (3, Interesting)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000460)

Instead of signing the back of his credit cards, my dad writes "Ask for photo ID". If they don't, he asks them calmly if the signatures match. If the cashier says yes, he asks to talk to their supervisor. He doesn't make a big fuss out of it most of the time, and tends to joke around with the cashiers more than make them feel bad, but it gets his point across. He also praises those cashiers that do actually ask for photo ID.

I like it because it has the net effect of making cashiers more likely to check ALL signatures, not just his.

uselesss? (1)

dmf415 (218827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000465)

Speaking of useless, I was at the grocery store the other day and a guy failed at entering his pin code for his atm card a bunch of times. After that, the customer asked what time they closed and left, LOL

useless (1)

same_old_story (833424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000469)

the actual question is why do they still ask for signatures at all?

if signatures were actually needed you wouldn't be able to use your credit card to buy through the telephone or do any online shopping.

Who cares about signatures (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000472)

Every place I go to to buy something just asks for my id anyways. Best buy and stores like that are the worst. $19 dvd, need to see another id...What???

Its 19 freaking dollars! I could see if it were a 4k tv but a stupid $19 dvd? Whats the point of a signature anymore if no one bothers to care that its there or not, they just want to see a picture id and match the pic on the id to the person standing in front of them.

Get rid of signatures and just make all credit cards have photo's embedded in them. When you swipe it displays a small photo of you on the screen. There's your sig right there.

obnoxious (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000481)

this article went from funny to rather obnoxious quite quickly. And you wonder why geeks cant get laid.

Signature (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12000482)

The agreement you are making in signing the line is governed by contract law. All that is necessary is some indication you have agreed (and of course you have to understand what you are agreeing to but that's not relevant here). A simple x or even less can do it. Remember how the early settlers in the Americas took land from the native peoples. The native people in general did not write in the language of the settlers, so an X sufficed as a signature (or sign that an agreement had been made). Now if this guy had been using someone else's card without permission this would be news. Well, actually it is news because most people do not have even a basic understanding of contracts (in the U.S.). It is a failure of the compulsory schools and a means to the extraction of (the little) money from the have-not's into the hands of the have's.

Impossible to Forge! (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000508)


I've come up with the ultimate 'Impossible to Forge' signature:

I DO IT DIFFERENTLY EVERY TIME!

Slashdotted (1, Offtopic)

Random832 (694525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000509)

If slashdot isn't going to support mirroring, they should at least link all the pages of the article so that mirrordot will retrieve them.

Not only (1)

incuso (747340) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000510)

Here in Italy, not only it is very difficult that someone get a glance to your signature but also nearly no-one asks for an ID. M.

Not as bad as you think (4, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000516)

Sure, it's probably too easy to use someone else's credit card without their permission. But remember that the transactions are not settled until long after the swipe (say, a month). Credit cards, evil as they are with their obscene interest rates, do offer substantial protection for consumers and in case of fraud you have recourse without having to pay a cent.

For example, if someone else purchases something with your card (fraud) you can call up your credit card company and indicate that you did not conduct this transaction, and that the merchant does not have your signature on file. They will check and see, indeed, the signature is not available.

Another example (a bit off topic but still interesting) is when the Canadian discount airline, Jetsgo, suddenly went bankrupt. They were even selling tickets to passengers the day before they shut down operations. AFAIK, people who bought their plane tickets by credit card had their transactions cancelled because they were not / could not be provided the product or service they paid for. There was no legitimate sale.

Walmart's policy (2, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000528)

I was working at a Walmart last summer to help pay for college (should I be posting this as AC?), and they are pretty clear to the cashiers there to check ID if it is unsigned, and to verify the signature if it is signed. Being one of the largest corporations in America probably has something to do with their strictness on the issue. Although you do feel pretty bad when some old lady doesn't have another form of valid ID and an unsigned card....

Google Cache (1, Informative)

killeena (794394) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000532)

Google cache here..... [64.233.167.104]

Not your problem. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000543)

If the merchant doesn't check the signature, that's not your problem, seriously.

The merchant is taking all the risk. If the cardholder rejects the payment as unauthorized, and they can't show a valid signature, the merchant will be out the money, not you.

SEE ID (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000552)

I wrote the above on my Credit Card.

I get asked to see my ID about 2/3 of the time. If I don't get asked, I complain. If I'm spending over $100, and don't get asked, I frequently complain to a manager, too.

See, when push comes to shove, your security is really your own problem, and if you don't take simple steps like above, you deserve what you get. (EG: NADA)

If even 5% of everybody did what I suggest, this wouldn't be a problem...

Best Buy (2, Interesting)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000554)

Best Buy is the only place that has ever checked mine.

The card is about 3 years old, the signature has worn off completely, and I can't resign it (so far no pen seems to write on the mangled signature panel). So they always check my ID.

But what's the point anyway? I can go online and spend thousands of dollars with no verification, so what is the point of checking my ID in store?

Only you should care (1)

amanox (862297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000559)

The signature is just to prove that it was you who bought the suff.. i'm guessing any writing of yourself can do, the signature is just "official" writing. Should you recieve the list of transactions you made , and one of them is not yours and the "signature" doesn't match yours, you're not paying. It's for your protection, not theirs.

Upside Down (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000568)

I have all of my credit cards signed upside-down. I laugh my ass off everytime some clerk takes the card and the receipt, holds them together, and makes that "yup, they match" look on their face, when I know good and well that my signature rightside-up cannot possibily match my signature upside-down.

regional differences? (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000572)

this seems to be regional. some areas of the USA i won't get sig checked much, but it seems around in Minnesota (where I live) I do. I have "SEE ID" written on the back of mine, and a lot of places, maybe 70% seem to ask for my ID. Some places do so because they have a policy to look all the time (the grocery store i usually shop at), where some places look in response to my SEE ID. Some places don't look but in a way that seems justified- at the food co-cop I shop at they know me well enough, so I don't feel too insecure about it.

But then again, I have had places that look at "SEE ID" and compare it with my craptastic signature, pretending to compare them. Which is plainly BS. But not too often.

My Story (2, Funny)

iammrjvo (597745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12000581)


Okay, I'm sure that everyone has stories about how useless they are, but I'll share mine.

A month or two ago, checking out in the grocery store line, I got a new clerk. When I swiped my card, the person training her told her to check the card. I was using my wife's card with her name on it and it wasn't even signed. The clerk proceeded to take the card, she examined the front carefully and then examined the back. Then she handed the card back with a smile as if to say, "Yep. It's a real credit card alright."

Worthless.
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